Warda al Jazairia وردة الجزائرية‎

The singer in this clip is Warda and the song is the hugely popular, “Harramt Ahebak” (حرمت أحبك I Give Up (on) Loving You). What do we know about the wonderful voice that belonged to Warda al Jazairia? Warda was born in 1939 in France to Algerian/Lebanese parents and started singing at a very young age. In 1958 her father’s café was closed down by French authorities following a charge of harbouring arms for terrorists and her family moved to Beirut which was her mother’s home town. Warda’s voice soon came to the notice of Mohamed Abdel Wahab and she was invited to come to Cairo. There she came to the attention of Riad Sombati best known for composing songs for Omm Kulthum. The rest, as they say, is history…. ‘Warda’ means ‘rose’, ‘al Jazairia’ means ‘the (f) Algerian’ and one of Warda’s epithets was ‘The Algerian Rose’. Warda was married to composer Baligh Hamdi (1932-1993) for about 10 years. In 1960 Warda was part of the group of famous Arab singers including Shadia, Sabah and Abdel Halim Hafez who sang ‘Al Watan al Akbar’ (الوطن الأكبر‎ The Great Homeland) a pan-Arab song written by Mohamed Abdel Wahab to celebrate the 1958 union of Egypt and Syria into the United Arab Republic. Background: The union of Egypt and Syria only lasted until 1961 when Syria withdrew from the union following a coup in that country. There were other coups in Syria in 1963 and again in 1966. It was the 1966 coup that bought the Assads (père et fil) to power.

Hoda Shams El Din and Maha Sabri (1961)

A second clip from “Ismael Yassin f’il Sijn’ (Ismail Yassin in Prison إسماعيل يس في السجن ) a 1961 film starring Ismail Yassin (of course) and featuring Hoda Shams El Din (هدى شمس الدين dancer) and Maha Sabri (singer). Hoda wears the same costume that she wore in the first clip but Maha has changed gowns.

Najwa Sultan and Azza Sharif (1977)

The two dancers in this clip are Najwa Sultan (نجوى سلطان) and Azza Sharif (عزة شريف) in a scene from the 1977 film ‘Ah Ya Leil Ya Zaman’ (آه يا ليل يا زمن).
The singer with the gorgeous voice is the late Warda Al Jazairia who played the leading role in the film.  Adel Adham and Samir Ghanem are the two men sitting on the pink sofa in the clip.
The song in this clip, ‘Leil Ya Layali’ was composed by Baligh Hamdi who was Warda’s second husband.   Warda plays Faten, the daughter of a rich man, who learns on his death that all his assets have been lost and she blames the man who tells her the bad news.  She travels to Paris, finds work as a dental nurse and turns to singing. As a singer, she is (of course) a great success and falls in love with the dentist who’s already married. Long story short, the dentist goes back to his wife and Warda’s character continues with her singing career.

Sabah with Najwa Fouad’s dancers (1977)

Sometimes films can be so confusing! This is Lebanese singer Sabah’s performance in the Nagwa Fouad film from 1977 titled ‘The Magic Lamp’.  The credits at the start of the film say ‘The Magic Lamp’ in Arabic ‘Al Mesbah al Sehri’ (المصباح السحري) BUT the film is listed in all the databases as being titled ‘Mirrors’. And Nagwa Fouad does dance in front of mirrors in a red bedlah during the credits, but that performance is not shown in this film. Also shown during the opening credits are the scenes where she dances on a boat but that performance is in another movie. Anyway, this film starred Younes Shalaby with guest spots by Saudi singer Mohamed Abdu, Lebanese singer Sabah as shown and Egyptian singer Hany Shaker and is basically a series of tableaus joined together by a bit of dialogue….not that there’s anything wrong with that LOL.
And all this is despite the references to magic lamps throughout this film. Ah well, what to do…..

Suzy Khairy (1958) سوزى خيرى

Suzy Khairy dances in a scene from the 1958 Egyptian film ‘Al Malema’ (المعلمة) which starred Yehia Shaheen, Taheya Karioka and Mahmoud al Meliji. The male singer is Daulat Helmy
Dancers will recognise the music as ‘Hassan’ (‘Ya Hassan ya Khouli al Ganena’) by Mahmoud al Sherif. The song was made popular when it was sung by Shadia in the 1951 film ‘Leilat al Henna’ in which she starred along with Kamal al Shinnawi.

Nazik (1959) نازك

This is Lebanese born singer Nazik (1929-1999) performing the theme song from the 1959 Egyptian film ‘Kul daqa fi qalbi’ (Every beat of my heart كل دقة فى قلبى) which starred Samia Gamal and Mohamed Fawzi. No dancing in this clip, just beautiful music and a golden voice.
Some of the lyrics are:
“Kul daqa fi qalbi bitsallem a’leik,
Ya wahishni min zaman fein noor e’inaik,
Every beat of my heart greets you (says hello to you),
I miss you, its been a while,
(I’m) missing the light of your eyes.”




The clip is from a programme shown on Qatar tv. These settings are called ‘jalsaat’ (s: jalsa) and they’re social occasions where there’s music, singing and dancing. In a relaxed home setting with only the family attending, tea, coffee and sweets are served and people will perform songs to entertain each other. However if there are important guests or its a formal function then professional musicians/dancers are usually employed. The guests at a jalsa can sit and enjoy the music or get up and dance as they like.

Yemen music and dance ‘Sheikh al Tayer’ Part 1

Yemeni music and dance with singers Yousef Abadaji and Abdulrahman Al Akhfash. This is the first part of the song ‘Sheikh al Tayer’ (Ruler/King of the Birds). Thanks to Mohamed Nasser for the singers’ names.
The knife worn by the men is called a jambiya ( جنبية‎ ) and in Yemen, all males, even some very young ones, wear one.

Yemen music and dance ‘Sheikh al Tayer’ Part 2

Yemeni music and dance with singers Yousef Abadaji and Abdulrahman Al Akhfash. This is the first part of the song ‘Sheikh al Tayer’ (Ruler/King of the Birds).  Thanks to Mohamed Nasser for the singers’ names.
The knife worn by the men is called a jabeyah and in Yemen, all males, even some very young ones, wear one.

Men’s song and dance from Saudi Arabia – Al Aardhah 1 العرضة


This dance is called ‘Al Aardhah Al Najdyaah’. ‘Al Aardhah’ means ‘the dance’ and ‘Al Najdyah’ refers to the area of KSA called Najd which includes Riyadh and its suburbs, where King Abdulaziz the father of the Saudi Kings was born and started the unification of his Kingdom. So, in the old days when there were lots of wars led by the founder of the Kingdom and this dance was usually performed after winning a war. They usually sing “Nehmadallh Jat Aala Ma Netmanna” which means “We are grateful to Allah that we have won such a war”. After the wars ceased it became a Saudi traditional dance to be performed on occasions such as National Day and at large culture festivals such as Jenadyriah. The King will also participate in such dance as his father used to.

The drums, tassels, swords, the outfits, and all relevant decorations are derived from the old days.

(Thank you Omar for the information)